Sean Woolsey has created a luxury furniture business that focuses on purposeful design, natural materials and local craftsmanship. His intention is to make a higher quality product that will be passed down to the next generation, an heirloom & # 8212; we love it Before landing in his current space, Sean Woolsey Studio, his curiosity led him to experiment with different forms of art and design.He also grew up in a family of craftsmen, artists and businessmen so this type of work seemed destined for him.His specialty pieces are handcrafted and designed by him and his small team in Costa Mesa, CA.We are excited to share our interview with Sean.You can buy the furniture from himonline here.
What originally drew you to your trade? Was there a particular experience or personal calling?
I have always been drawn to making things with my hands, whether it be skate ramps, t-shirts, fine art, or furniture. I feel a deep satisfaction in doing things by hand. I started dabbling in woodworking about 12 years ago when I signed up for a class at a local community college, and that’s when I got hooked on woodworking. I have always been drawn to furniture and love to discover how things are generally made. One thing led to the next in a very organic nature. I never set out or planned to have a furniture business, but after 12 years, I am even more passionate about what I do — continually progressing in the trade and in business.
To what do you most attribute the development of your craft? Did you have a mentor or formal education?
I have learned more than 2 things: trial/error and YouTube. There is nothing that replaces the actual practice of doing something and getting immediate feedback (whether good or bad) so that you learn something really fast, in real time — probably similar to cooking. Both have immediate feedback loops.
What kinds of risks or challenges have you encountered over the years? And did the challenges (or one challenge in particular) change your path in any way?
Many challenges, always. Business challenges are an ever-changing landscape. The only way out is through. One of the constant challenges is how, when and to what extent to grow the business. This may seem like investing in machinery, employees, more space, sales staff, etc. I have found that slow and methodical growth is more my cup of tea. The constant goal is to build things to the best of our ability while creating a niche clientele that is just as obsessed with our work as we are with doing it. When you first start a business it’s just about surviving, then you hit the ground running and spend some time deciding where you want to go, and with that there are many more decisions to make.
When you think about the future of your job, what excites you the most?
We are investing heavily in the design and development of more game tables (pool, shuffleboard, and ping pong) as well as chairs. I love these items as they are complicated to make and so much fun to play, especially in such a digital landscape we all live in. I am also very excited to have our own store/showroom soon. Also a larger store space.
Is there a television or movie character that reflects your personality in real life? If so, who?
I thought long and hard, but I can’t think of anyone.
What advice would you have liked to receive when you started?
Keep your overhead as low as possible and take your time hiring the right people. Be slow to hire, quick to fire.
Is there someone whose style of glasses stands out to you?
I like anyone who has their own personal style and isn’t afraid to be different, dress different, think different.
When you’re not working, how do you recharge and stay inspired by Costa Mesa?
Traveling, trail running, surfing.
Sean wears theQuincy in Sol DiamanteandBaudouin in Dune. Photos byStefan Junir
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